A Second Chance to Rebuild

“On Sunday, Feb. 10, community members enthusiastically gathered at the Islamic Center of South Bay in Lomita for a forum to discuss future renovation plans on its site,” states a CAIR press release. It adds: “As part of a recent settlement agreement between the mosque and city, the city will consider a renewed application by the Islamic Center on an expedited schedule and waive application fees, explained Anne Richardson of Hadsell Stormer Richardson and Renick LLP, a private law firm that is working with CAIR-LA in representing ICSB in its lawsuit against the city. 
“The community forum occurred one week after the Department of Justice alleged in a lawsuit that the city violated the law when it denied the Islamic Center’s application to refurbish its facility in March 2010. 
“CAIR-LA’s staff attorney Ameena Qazi explained the implications of the DOJ agreed order, that city officials who make land-use decisions will attend trainings on federal law protecting religious institutions. 
“CAIR-LA is honored to continue working with the Islamic Center of South Bay and its congregants towards building a beautiful, new mosque, as the community’s involvement has played an integral role in achieving both settlements. During the investigation, CAIR-LA staff attorneys helped establish a community action committee, held multiple meetings and townhalls, and worked with the committee to submit dozens of letters to DOJ officials describing how the city’s application denial negatively impacted community members. Additionally, CAIR-LA worked with community leaders to garner 200 signatures on a petition they presented to the city supporting the DOJ-led investigation. 
“At the forum, the Islamic center’s future expansion plans were laid out by architect Shakil Patel, and community leaders Shakeel Syed of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, along with mosque leaders Dr Iraj Ershaghi and Ehtesham Mirza who spoke on the importance of working together to build a strong community. Later, a youth representative spoke about the role of the Islamic Center in her life, and how it has given her friends and other teenagers a place to develop camaraderie within their community. 
“The progress that has been made on this case speaks volumes to the strength and resiliency of the South Bay community. This is truly an example of a community coming together, “the press release concludes.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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